Press release from Veterans for Peace
Veterans For Peace will have members protesting at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. VFP President Leah Bolger explained why:
“Social change, including the abolition of war, does not come from supporting one political party over another, but from changing the culture and influencing all major parties. Women did not vote themselves the right to vote. The civil rights movement did not trade in nonviolent action, education, and mobilization for electoral campaigns. The labor movement was not built by what the labor movement spends its money on today. And when our grandparents passed the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning war, they did so by placing the criminalization of war in the platforms of the four largest parties in the country.
“A peace movement that only opposes wars when the president belongs to one party is not a peace movement. It’s a partisan campaign that uses the pretended desire for peace as bait and activists as props. What we need far more than campaigning is movement building. We need to organize people to bring our popular demands to the government as a whole. The government is no longer divided into the three traditional branches. The two branches are the two major parties. Congress members and even Supreme Court Justices are loyal to their parties. We must demand that both parties adopt platforms for peace. Our economy cannot withstand further war preparation any more than our consciences can bear the consequences.
“We also need to help the public abandon the pretense that one of the parties is already peaceful. President Obama in the past three-and-a-half years has escalated war in Afghanistan and continued it in the face of overwhelming public opposition. He’s invented a new kind of war using drones and launched such wars in numerous nations, building intense hostility toward the United States. He keeps a list of “nominees” for murder. On the list are adults and children, Americans and non-Americans. He holds meetings with his staff on Tuesdays to decide whom to kill next, and then kills them.
“President Obama launched a war on Libya against the will of Congress. The military is larger and more expensive now than it ever was under President Bush. It’s more secretive, with the CIA fighting some of the wars. It’s more privatized. It’s more profitable. It’s in more nations. And it’s swallowing a greater share of government spending. President Obama has forbidden the prosecution of CIA torturers. He has created a legal and bipartisan acceptance of what we recently protested as scandalous outrages, including imprisonment without trial. And now he has announced that the United States, without Congressional authorization or public approval, is engaged in assisting one side in a civil war in Syria — even while continuing to threaten war on Iran.
“Veterans For Peace knows that both parties are responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Military spending is the sacred cow that neither party will touch. It matters little which party is in power. The Congressional-Military-Industrial-Media Machine just keeps humming along.
“Veterans For Peace will be in Tampa not to protest the Republican Party, but to protest our government’s grotesque military spending. We will be in Charlotte not to protest the Democratic Party, but to protest the abominable killing and destruction being done in our name. VFP will continue to point an accusing finger at the military monster that is our government, and to protest its illegal actions and misplaced priorities in every way we can.